As most of the social media world has heard by now, Twitter has decided to test out tweets that are 280 characters, doubling from its original 140 characters.

Its goal was to eliminate the restraints that kept people from tweeting more frequently. While this isn’t a mainstay for most users, Twitter is rotating through a randomized small group of its user base at a set amount of time for this test run. For its 320 million users, this could be a significant risk. However, the company is trying to expand and compete with the big boy, Facebook, and its 2 billion worldwide users.

So, let’s think about it like this. When you’re trying to write out a thought or a piece of news, and you run out of character space; it leads to a frustrating user experience. You either have to condense your tweet (possibly leaving out key information), or you would have to tweet multiple times in a row to get your point/story across. The more and more users become fluent in Twitter, the easier and easier it becomes to fill the character limit.

So, what does this all mean? Does it even matter?

Yes, it does matter. You might think the way the first part of this post ended, 280-character tweets would be a good thing for the overall product. Who knows? It might. But Twitter’s original goal was to be unique and not be like Facebook. Brevity was the social media channel’s backbone and that single unique trait made the difference.

According to a study by the American Press Institute, 9 out 10 people who use Twitter use it for the purpose of getting their daily news. I am part of this statistic. I go on Twitter multiple times per day (probably too much for everyone’s liking) to see various kinds of tweets from different news sources.

Why do I go here all the time? If the news is going to break, it’s going to break on Twitter before anywhere else. News organizations use Twitter as a place to get their breaking headlines out.

As a former journalist and journalism student, headlines are important. I can remember sitting in a headlines class, thinking why do I need to know all of these details. Little did I know, people who excelled with writing headlines, currently excel with crafting tweets. To cut my headlines ramble off, this all matters. Whether it’s positive or negative in your mind. Too many characters defeat the purpose of Twitter’s original goal – unique microblogs to get your thought or news across without any of the fluff. However, goals change over time. Twitter wants more users who aren’t necessarily master headline crafters.

There are also other issues that Twitter can work on such as links taking up too much character space, but I can rant about that to fellow co-workers instead of boring you to death.

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